A Mother Who Fought All For Her Daughter

Last updated 10 Apr 2018 . 1 min read

Cancer survivor story Cancer survivor story

I think the best gift God has given each one of us irrespective of caste, creed, colour, equality etc. created by mankind is a ‘Mother’. For each, his/her mother is the most special person on earth in their own unique ways. Similar to how the word ‘MAA’ is exceptional. At times, I feel this very word fills me up with positive energy.

Wake up at 6, prepare three types of meals, multitask by eating or rather swallowing breakfast and get ready for work. She leaves home at 9 am to cover a 10 km distance - first half by rickshaw and second half by dangling in the city bus. She ensures to reach home by 4 pm to take her little one to her dance class, back to the same place. She fritters away the time till 8 pm and is back home by 9:30 pm. Prepares dinner for everyone and makes the bed for everyone, ensuring they're all asleep.

This cycle is repeated every day, non-stop. This is the unvarying life of my mother with a not so happening married life which every woman fantasizes about. She’s simple, unconditional and a devotee of God with purity at heart.


My Rock Solid Support System

With the little money she had, my mom always managed to get the things which I was fond of eating and made it seem like a feast. She has been there with me through trials and tribulations, when friends deserted me, when trouble thickened all around me.

She kept her heart in a silken shroud and sent me to Bangalore after my 12th standard to craft my life - to be strong and independent yet full of happiness. She wore the same old shaggy dress, owed money to different people and organizations just for financing my education and independence, but most importantly for my happiness.

She says, “My Heart still skips a beat when I think of that moment when I boarded the train from Bangalore without you. And that ascendant shock will never go away..” But the isolation, the absence of strong pillars turned me into a matured woman, proud of the values inculcated in me. I am still nurturing them, becoming stronger every day.

I never wanted to be in the science stream but nobody can utter a word against my dad’s decisions. I remember it was my 12th board exams. Chemistry wasn’t my favourite subject so to say and I had no clue on how I would fare. I just knew I had to get 21 marks out of 50, to pass.

The fear of my dad, the fear of society, the fear of the peace that would leave our family if I fail - made me feel so helpless. I came out of my examination hall and saw my whole family waiting for me, with curiosity on their faces to know how my paper went. I was successful in keeping a smile on my face and I lied.

But the most powerful weapon which a mother has is to understand what her child is going through, without saying a word. That evening she took me to my room, closed the doors and asked me, “Please tell me what happened, your paper didn’t go well? I am your mother. You can tell me what you are feeling because something doesn’t seem right.” And I burst out crying. It’s true that a mother’s arms are more comforting than anyone else’s. She assured me that I will pass and told me that a mother’s belief can never be wrong. I got exactly 21 marks in Chemistry!

She would squeeze her budget or work even on Sundays so that she could buy me that one thing that I just had to have. I remember in the year 2010, when I was in my Undergrads, I was struggling in my project work because I didn’t have a laptop. I had to borrow it from the rich girls in my hostel sometimes, which never came free and was accompanied by nasty comments that would hurt me. At that time, although my education fees, hostel fees and everything else came from the money she owed, I was still gifted a laptop that year by my mother on my birthday. And I haven't gained the courage yet to ask her how she managed to buy the pink laptop which I still use.

Surjyasikha Das mother
Surjyasikha's mother

Her Fight & Ours

Spring comes year after year, but the spring of 2013 was not the same for us. We told my mother that we are taking her to a hospital, just to confirm if there is a tumour right above her left breast, which the doctor has detected and is not sure whether it is worrisome. But when she saw the cancer hospital’s name, she almost cried out in grief and fear, “Why have you brought me to a cancer hospital? What is happening? Do I have cancer? Please tell me. You all lied to me!”  

We couldn’t answer her questions, we didn’t know how we could. She explains the terrifying journey in her own words:

“The day I was detected with Breast Cancer, I got very scared and panicked. I had to undergo a surgery and I broke down, both physically and mentally. The surgery was followed by chemotherapy which, I pray, not even my enemies should ever have to go through. The feeling during those chemo sessions was as if I was moving closer to death and experiencing hell. With continuous puking, I suffered intense pain. Bunches of hair would come right off and soon, I became bald. My heart ached. The tears from my eyes refused to stop. I felt incomplete as a woman since I didn’t have my left breast anymore (removed during operation).

At that time, all I wanted was love, care, strength and support from my near and dear ones. I wanted someone to walk along with me in every step of this torturous journey.

I started believing that I was paying for my previous life karma but when life doesn’t give you any choice, you must make up to it. And that’s what I did. Amidst immense misery and sorrow, I stood up to take care of myself. I made sure I take the right food, medicines and other healthy intakes at the right time. I also prepared homemade remedies for my hair growth. Slowly, one by one my hair grew back and now I have healthy voluminous hair like before. It’s been close to 6 years now but I still get pain in the operated area. I also think I have an apt answer now about why it happened to me and that is - cancer can happen to anyone.

The one thing cancer taught me is that in any problem or difficulty, we must help ourselves first and not rely on others to help us. We must make our roots so strong that no force can remove it.

If we want to recover from deadly diseases like cancer, we must keep aside our distress and engage ourselves in things which give us happiness. That’s what I did. I wrote about my feelings, the places I travelled to, about Gods and Goddesses, temples I visited etc. It can be anything.”


Hope Personified

My mom is a fighter and even cancer had to bow down in front of her. The same people who once didn’t want to come near her, assuming it will get transmitted, are now jealous of her personality. Yes, you hear me right. She has become prettier, stronger and more confident. She still has a black mark from the injection she took while undergoing chemotherapy on her right hand, and I call it the mark of a ‘warrior’. She fought back. She is a survivor.

She does sometimes crib about the life she had but all I can do is scold her and bring her back to the present. To quite an extent, I have become successful in making her believe that ignoring negativity is the best therapy to being happy - to do all the things that would give us even an insignificant amount of happiness without thinking how others would judge, to reminisce only the good things of our past and to live the remaining life like a newborn baby. Trust me, all these positive thoughts that I have penned here, are passed down from her.

We both know no matter what we go through, no matter how much we argue, in the end, we are always there for each other. For her, I am ‘the mature woman' in the family. I may be the youngest in the family but she believes I am the one who can show her what is right and wrong at any point in her life, when she fumbles. She takes my opinions, suggestions, advice on everything. We laugh, we cry, we can be crazy together, have a movie marathon on Sundays. We are best friends and counsellors who cling to each other.

Today I am a successful Finance Professional working in Honeywell. I am also a professional Bharat Natyam dancer trained under the Late Padmashree Pushpa Bhuyan and a classically trained singer under Bhatkhande, Lucknow. I am learning Bollywood, Contemporary and Hip Hop styles under Shiamak Davar and Melvin Louis. I also keep myself engaged in various acting workshops, improv shows and other sports activities. I believe in versatility.

I made myself capable enough to repay my education loan of 6 lakhs in a span of two and a half years. I can proudly say, that I was able to sponsor my mother’s first international trip in 2016 where we both had a great time. I am still struggling to give her the best I can for the innumerable sacrifices she has made for me and my sisters.

Surjyasikha Das
Surjyasikha & her mother's trip to Thailand

I want this story to be one of them, hoping to bring a smile on her face after she reads this. I love you, Maa. Thank you for bringing me into this world. I used to wonder how and when will I be able to convey my gratitude to this sheroic figure in my life - my mother. Thank you Sheroes for this opportunity.

She is beautiful, softened at the edges and tempered with a spine of steel. I want to grow old and be like Niru - my mother.


This personal narrative is written by Surjyasikha Das, one of our community members. If you'd like to share a story with us, send an email to lola@sheroes.in or nirupama@sheroes.in

Nirupama Kondayya
Nirupama feels that life is all about #TakingCharge, one step at a time, everyday. She truly believes that women have the potential to achieve their dreams, once they put their heart into it. She also believes that being grateful for little things has big impacts in life.

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